By Estefania Avalos
Tranquillity High School is located in a small town, and few resources are available. However, most students who attend the school are taking online college courses through West Hills Community College in Coalinga. Most students began taking college courses the summer before their freshman year.
One of the main reasons students decide to take these classes is because they are free. Who wouldn’t want to take free college courses when they cost hundreds of dollars after high school?
The class of 2020 began to take college courses in the summer of 2016, and many continue to do so. They now are only months from graduating from West Hills. Some will graduate with up to five associate’s degrees. This is hardly ever heard among families in west-side communities.
Some students also take courses on campus during the summer through a program called Upward Bound. The Upward Bound program gives low-income students the opportunity to succeed.
Students can stay in the West Hills Community College dorms meeting new people and experiencing college life. Most important, they get to be full-time college students. Being away from our parents and surrounded by reality has opened many eyes.
Upward Bound and the staff have helped many students at Tranquillity High School and other schools in the Central Valley. Students get to choose their major, which provides the opportunity to explore various interests and complete their general education. Most units are transferable to other universities.
The students thank Superintendent Martin Macias of the Golden Plains School District, the school board members and their two college counselors, Espi Sandoval and Juan Rubio, for the opportunity to take these classes. The students have grown tremendously because of this chance to get ahead. More than three-thirds of the school is taking online classes. It is important for us to use the resources available to us.
Estefania Avalos is a junior at Tranquillity High School and a student at West Hills Community College. She aims to educate her community about available resources in her area.